All photos and text by Jack Rothman
All rights reserved. No photo may be copied or duplicated without written permission.

Updated 8/30/16
Copyright 2016

Located in the Bronx, New York, City Island is a small island, approximately one mile long and a quarter mile wide. City Island is surrounded by Eastchester Bay on one side and Long Island Sound on the other. Its bridge attaches to a roadway adjacent to Pelham Bay Park, New York City's largest park. In this area, and in the waters and wetlands, in and around City Island, many bird species thrive. Here, several and varied migratory birds are found. This website was created to help study, appreciate, and protect all the birds of this area.

City Island Birds
Since 2007

Welcome to City Island Birds. I created this website because this area of New York City is little known and underutilized by birdwatchers and other nature lovers. Pelham Bay Park, with its woods and wetlands is a critical stopover and nesting area to many migratory species.


Barnacle Goose at Orchard Beach

Jack Rothman


Traveling and Birding the Amazon

Several people have requested information about our trip to the Amazon.

Birding Interest- Past Articles

Important and Useful

The Wild Bird Fund   (Animal Rehabber)

New York Tide Chart

Urban Park Rangers

NY State Parks

Birdcast (Migration Reports)


This is a iPhone digiscoped photo of a Least Bittern. On a trip to DeKorte Park in New Jersey we found three of these elusive birds. Sadly, I’ve never seen one here.

This tree past the metal bridge at Turtle Cove will have ripe berries soon, like the ones pictured. This always brings a lot of Cedar Waxwings.

The photo above shows a flycatcher nest. I believe it to be a Willow Flycatcher nest but it’s difficult to know just by looking. There is the possibility of it being an Alder Flycatcher. Usually we can easily tell by it’s spring song, however that’s over. So now we listen for their chip call. According to the field guides, if the chip call is a “pip” it’s an Alder Flycatcher. If it’ a “whit,” it’s a Willow. So I listened and I thought it was a “whit.” Debbie Becker, who found the nest, thought it to be a “pip.” I went back another day to listen again. The chicks had fledged and Mom, pictured right, was gone. I sent the photos around to some other birders, but opinions vary.  In the past Willow Flycatchers have nested here, so that would be my best guess. I was really happy to get the opportunity to see these birds so closely and glad that they seemed to have fledged and had not been predated. There are many Red-wing Blackbirds, European Starlings , crows and other competitive species.

This looks like a young female Common Yellowthroat, possibly fledged in July.

Binocular and Smartphone Help

If you’re not familiar with how your computer or smartphone can help you be a better and more successful birder, you should read my little primer, link here.

If you need or want a new pair of binoculars, you might want to begin here. Binoculars have really changed in the last few years. You can get a fantastic pair for a few hundred dollars and a really good pair for less than $200. Years ago, there wasn’t nearly as much choice. You should link here for ratings.

Birding Advocacy

Save Forests and Save Birds

Ancient Boreal forests are being cut down for

Toilet Tissue, Paper Towels and Catalogs!


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Two juvenile Green Herons were cavorting down at Turtle Cove. I stayed for quite a while watching them up in the trees.

An Eastern Kingbird at Turtle Cove. They were here earlier but I haven’t seen them recently. They tend to nest earlier in the season and defend their nests against people and larger birds. Cowbirds lay eggs in their nests with hopes of brood parasitism but Kingbirds often recognize the intruding eggs. Kingbirds nest in our park and can sometimes be found along the forest edge near Turtle Cove and I assume other nearby locations. These birds are fun to watch and photograph and I’m always happy to see them in our park.

                                 Summer Birding is almost Over! (Hooray)

The migration is on. Reports from Central Park are good with many passerine species being seen. At Jamaica Bay we can find a variety of shorebirds and the numbers and diversity are increasing.

In Pelham Bay Park, we always seem to be a bit later than areas that are further inland. I expect the coming weeks to also be good. We need those strong northwesterly winds to push the migrating birds to the coast. I also expect to finally begin conducting walks soon. I will send out announcements a week to a few days before.

NYC Shorebird Blitz Saturday

This Saturday, August 3, we will be meeting at Rodman’s Neck at 8:30 sharp, and search for shorebirds in Pelham Bay Park. Please join us for this citizen science event. Please email me at for any questions. Hope to see you there.